KEY POINTS

  • Data from NASA's CNEOS revealed that a 787-foot near-Earth asteroid will pass by the planet Saturday
  • The NEA is called 2020 ST1 and is taller than the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • A 134-foot asteroid called 2020 TB9 will be making its close approach to Earth before 2020 ST1

Seven asteroids will be heading toward Earth's vicinity this week, and one of them is bigger than the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.

NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) said that a massive asteroid called 2020 ST1 will be zipping past the planet at an estimated speed of 17,800 miles per hour.

Asteroid 2020 ST1 will be making its flyby on Saturday at 4:45 a.m. EST, according to the CNEOS' Close Approach Data Table.

The near-Earth asteroid (NEA) has an estimated diameter of 787 feet (240 meters). This makes the 2020 ST1 taller than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco whose towers have a height of 745 feet, according to the Measure of Things website.

golden gate bridge
Sailboats pass under the Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to San Francisco Bay in California, Sept. 18, 2015. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

For a clearer picture, 2020 ST1 is also three-fourths the size of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which stands 1,060 feet tall, including its flagpole.

Fortunately, the asteroid has not been included in the European Space Agency's Risk List, which means it is not expected to hit Earth in its upcoming flyby.

The space rock will be zipping past the planet at a safe distance of 7 million kilometers (4.3 million miles). This puts 2020 ST1's closest approach to Earth at 19.03 lunar distances (LD) away. One LD is equal to 384,000 kilometers (238,900 miles).

Unlike the majority of the NEAs that pass by Earth, 2020 ST1 is classified as an Amor asteroid. Asteroids belonging to this category have close orbits that approach but do not cross Earth's path. Discovered on Sept. 18, 2020 ST1 was first observed by the Mount Lemmon Survey.

Before 2020 ST1's flyby, however, another asteroid 2020 TB9 will be entering Earth's vicinity. A NEA called 2020 TB9 will zip past the planet on Saturday at 12:31 a.m. EST, only a few hours before 2020 ST1 does.

Asteroid 2020 TB9 measures 134 feet across, making it nearly as large as the Arc de Triomphe in France, which stands at 154 feet.

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